Digital tech investment, critical to workforce in least-developed nations
Structural weaknesses in the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have made them more vulnerable to shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the current food and energy crises, and the situation could worsen if they do not fully participate in global recovery efforts.
That’s according to the report Present and future of work in the Least Developed Countries, published on Friday by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
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The report provides an overview of progress and challenges these nations face in terms of structural transformation, a just transition to greener economies, and creation of full and productive employment.
“Multiple shocks have put Least Developed Countries under enormous pressure,” said Guy Ryder, the ILO Director-General.
“However, with the right employment and macroeconomic policy measures, new jobs can be created in both existing and new sectors, along with enhanced productivity and innovation driven by investments in green and digital economic opportunities.”
The report examines how digital technologies can deliver huge benefits to LDCs, provided investments are made in capital, skills and knowledge, to support inclusive, decent work.
The 46 nations represent 12 per cent of the world’s population and are characterized by low income levels, vulnerability to economic and environmental shocks, diminished levels of well-being, extreme poverty and high mortality rates.
Their vulnerabilities are largely the result of weak productive capacities associated with inadequate infrastructure, as well as limited access to technologies, according to the report.
Weak institutions, including those relating to work and social protection, are also a factor, while informal employment with no social safety net, is pervasive, representing almost 90 per cent of jobs.
The report contains several policy recommendations that promote what the ILO called “human-centred recovery” that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient.
These measures include expanding international assistance and cooperation to strengthen health care and vaccines, and to avoid unnecessary restrictions and barriers to trade and migration.
The report also called for strengthening institutions of work and building capacities to enable fundamental rights, such as freedom of association and collective bargaining, with active engagement of social partners.
“This policy focus would create a virtuous circle that improves trust in government, facilitates a progressive shift to high value-added and environmentally sustainable activities, help reduce poverty and inequality and contribute to social justice,” according to the report.